Utah’s Rock Art
Utah contains a rich tapestry of pictographs (drawings painted on rock using natural dyes) and petroglyphs (images carved into stone).
Searching out rock-art panels can easily become an obsession, and it's a good one, since it will lead you far off the beaten path and deep into canyons that were once central for the area's ancient inhabitants.
Dry Fork Petroglyphs: These easily reached rock-art galleries, found northwest of Vernal, are also rarely visited. These spectacular images of life-sized human figures are considered to be some of the best in the nation.
Nine Mile Canyon: Few people travel these dusty (but perfectly passable in dry weather) roads near Price, but the rewards are great: There are a number of excellent rock-art panels and ancient grain caches tucked into the cliffs.
Sego Canyon: North of Moab on I-80, Sego Canyon is a vast gallery of prehistoric art, where you'll find hundreds of etched images.
Zion and Bryce
Parowan Gap: Ancient artists chiseled images — geometric designs, lizards, bear claws, and human figures — in this narrow rock pass, east of Cedar City, more than 1,000 years ago.
The Escalante Region
Boynton Overlook: Stop on Highway 12 between the towns of Escalante and Boulder in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and scan the cliff face across the river to see a pictograph of many handprints.
Fremont River Canyon: Petroglyphs of horned mountain sheep and humans in feathered headdresses are easily viewed from a parking area along Highway 24 in Capitol Reef National Park.
Arches and Canyonlands
Delicate Arch Trail: This often-overlooked panel of Ute Style rock-art in Arches National Park shows mounted horsemen hunting mountain sheep.
BLM Newspaper Rock: This showcase of rock art sits a few miles west of U.S. 191 on the entrance road for Canyonland's Needles District.
Great Gallery: In Canyonlands' remote Horseshoe Canyon Unit, human-sized images of ghost spirits cover the walls — this was clearly a sacred place for thousands of years.
Hovenweep National Monument: At one of Utah's best-preserved Anasazi villages, you'll find many petroglyphs. The most interesting are in the Holly Ruins, where a series of spirals and concentric rings served as a calendar for ancient farmers.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition